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Pervasive networking and sophisticated computing open opportunities for collaborative information processing independent of time and space. In this instance the information system becomes an enhancer of human intellect, as well as a mediator for communication among participants. The human user favors the sensory dimensions of sight, sound, and touch as primary channels of communication. Machines that can accommodate these modes promise flexibilities and functionalities that transcend the traditional mouse and keyboard. The paper describes research to establish human-computer interfaces that capture attributes of natural face-to-face communication. An experimental multimodal system is developed to study several aspects of natural style human-computer communication. While as yet primitive, the technologies of image and gaze processing, hands-free conversation, and force feedback tactile transduction are combined and used simultaneously for manipulating objects in a shared workspace. Software agents fuse the sensory signals to estimate and interpret user intent. Current areas of experimental application include disaster relief/crisis management, telemedicine/rehabilitation, and mobile office/wearable computers.